Day 12 overall, Day 5 Afloat: Pender Harbour- Garden Bay Pub to Prideaux Haven/Desolation Sound (Wednesday)

Ropes off at 7:15 this morning and we will once again head out before the rest of the flotilla. Based on the current and wind last night Andrew had pulled straight into and essentially parallel floated the boat in between two other boats. YEP, just like when you took your driver’s license! So this morning he was either going to have to try and float his way backwards out from between the two boats or attempt to learn something called a sling line and then pirouette his way out from the other two vessels. Now Andrew is at a disadvantage as his rope handler is new to the ropes and he is new to the boat so we took our direction this morning from Kevin and Sam and we made our way out of the slip without trouble. For those of you that know me I am active, albeit overweight, but you should see me scampering all over this boat like I am still 25! Let me tell you though that I am beginning to look for skilled with the rope and the scampering part but my muscles haven’t been worked like this in years! Perhaps I will be in much better shape when we return.

Today we headed to Prideaux Haven, located in Desolation sound which is one of Canada’s Marine Parks. I have been very much looking forward to this part of the trip. Prideaux Haven is thought to be quite easily one of the top most beautiful anchorages in the world so I look forward to our arrival. I can’t wait to arrive and enjoy the place first hand.

In the meantime, for those of you who are interested, a few technical details about the 40’ foot Willard that we are calliutput _ng home this summer. There are a great many things that we have learned about this boat and that we monitor every day to ensure that the boat continues to run and behave favorably. The boat has a Perkins 6 cylinder non-turbo charged engine. It was built in 1974 and only has 2500 hours on the engine which essentially makes it a teenage (luckily without the attitude.) Now the boat only has one engine, which in boating is called a single screw. However the original owner added an interesting and unique option called an emergency drive which is a 10 horsepower electric motor powered by the generator for use when the main engine needs repaired. The boat heavily built in fiberglass with a full-displacement hull shape which makes her slow but extremely efficient despite carrying 18 tons of life’s luxuries like lots of fresh water, a powerful generator which helps us take hot showers under way and cook meals and use our laptops. She has a chest freezer large than the one I have at home and a generous size refrigerator and enough power left over to use a microwave, my ninja blender and several other favorite house hold appliances. She has two state rooms, one and half heads (bathrooms) and plenty storage room. This boat swallowed up a great deal of our personal items that we unloaded from the extended cab diesel truck that we drive from Houston to La Conner. She extremely seaworthy with a slow roll in rough seas unlike the snap roll of most motor yachts. So a lot of rolling but no pounding the waves in higher seas. The Domino carries 600 gallons of diesel of fuel and 300 gallons of water and was built as a long range passage making and that it precisely what we are doing! So we feel we are in the right boat for the job.

A minute about the instruments and gauges that we watch while underway are also quite interesting.

  • Coolant temperature – 175-180 degrees
  • Oil Pressure – 55 PSI (Pounds per square inch)
  • Alternator – 65 Amps
  • 3 Battery Voltage Gauges – 13.3 Volts (However they rarely seem to agree with each other so we have set the emergency alarm to go off when the batteries get below 60%. This is handy when we are on the hook (at anchor and not running the generator but using lights and kitchen.)
  • Transmission temperature– 95%
  • Depth Fathometer – Reflects in feet but in Canada folks talk in Meters. We watch this very carefully for rocks and island that might be not be visible but right under the surface.
  • Chart Plotters- Two different systems so that we can compare and have a backup. Amazing how much redundancy there can be on a boat and how important it is to have that redundancy to make safe long distance passages.
  • Radar- A fabulous old but trusted Furuno System. We have learned a tremendous amount about this system and it has come in handy while steering blindly in the fog.
  • Auto Pilot- Wagner grouped described it as the best auto pilot system in the business made by ComNav. Although we hand steer the boat a fair amount this system is extremely useful in heavy seas and long disctance. The boat essentially steers itself on the heading that you set in degrees . Now the important thing to note here is attempt to steer to exactly the degrees that you set. YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION because the auto pilot does not talk to the plotting systems on this boat and the auto pilot could and would steer you right into a reef. So while it steers you continue to watch you plotting charts and locations and then can correct the auto pilot to avoid obsticals.

1:13 — We arrived through Desolation Sound into Prideaux Haven. I wish I could tell you that I have the words to adequately describe this place. The best I can do it tell you that at first site it took my breath away. I simply could not believe how incredible pristine, rough and wild it is and how peaceful the area seems. I am embarrassed to say that I teared up a little at the incredible beauty and serenity of the place. Desolation sound is known as one of the world’s most beautiful cruising areas in the world and today I can tell you that if there is better than this than I simply must go there as well.

6:10 – A note on my new friends Dan and Eileen at the helm of the vessel Fortunate, a 32’ Nordic Tug. Eileen has become known for her incredible homemade chocolate chip cookies which we get almost every day as a treat after cruusing, hiking or just hanging around. She made the dough ahead of time while still at home and vacuum sealed small batches into baggies and then froze them. She and Dan have owned the boat for a while and spent the last 9 months essentially fitting out their Nordic Trawler to suit the two of them. The Fortunate is absolutely ship shape as Dan and Eileen are quite organized and very well prepared. Dan purchased a marine freezer and then wrapped it with insulation and attached it to his upper deck so that they could provision for long weeks. They only have 5 weeks on this voyage and then they have to be home and when they go we will miss them both as they are great fun.

This evening Dan and Eileen were kind enough to give me a lesson on how to set shrimp pots. A shrimp pot is a trap which is designed to capture small animals, like shrimp. The shrimp swim in to grab a bite to eat and in theory can’t make their way back out. I learned how to bait and rig the pot and then how to locate a spot to set the pot. I am so excited that in the morning I may have a pot full of shrimp. Capturing my own dinner certainly takes me back to my families roots growing up in Ohio in a family of avidd fisherman and hunters. I wish I could have spent more time with my father while he was alive doing things like I am doing this summer. He would have loved this daily access to fresh fish, crab and shrimp and as is with most sportsman he would have caught and released a fair amount because a great deal of the fun was in the catch. We always had fresh game and fish at home in the freezer and thank goodness my mother spent time with me teaching me how to cook these wonderful gifts from the land and the sea, ( or in my case the lakes as I grew up around the great lakes and so did Andrew.) I guess you really can take the girl out of the country but you can’t the country out of the girl! Ask Andrew, as he has had to listen to a fair amount of country music on this trip and has now instituted a house rule that I only get one hour of “that stuff” then he gets one hour of his choice and so on! I love that man! Look I already have a first line of a country western song. (He is in the background rolling his eyes as I suspect he also does not want to be the subject of a country western song either!

I took my first spin in the dinghy and I took a few loops around the cove to get used to how the hard bottom inflatable handles. I spent a little time wandering through some of the most peaceful and beautiful little hideaway coves that I have ever seen. You could explore for days in these locations and not see it all. A group of harbor seals followed me around and surfaced every couple of minutes playing in the little wake of the dinghy. I was shocked how close to the boat they came. We have seen several eagles and of course the harbor seals seem to be everywhere.

Setting Shrimp Pots 101: I am certain that my Canadian friends will have more advice as I post this but this is what I learned so far. You start with a shrimp cage and a canister of the some pretty stinky shrimp bait that looks like pellets of dog food and smells like a combination of dog food and fish and perhaps something even smellier that I am forgetting! You scoop out these pellets and put them in a plastic zip lock back with some water to melt them down. You add a few drops of shrimp bait oil and now the recipe if complete. Now I am not going to lie to you this stuff is greasy, mushy and smelly and gloves are highly recommended by me and Dan had an entire box of these light weight gloves that look like they game from the doctor office. If you can imagine, overnight the Ziploc of food sits and becomes mushy and gooey and extra smelly! In the morning you scoop out the concoction and fill a little slotted, plastic bait container. Also, if that isn’t appetizing enough, you add to the buffet by opening up a can of cat food and place it underneath the shrimp bait container, it all gets fastened to the inside of the shrimp pot and you are ready to turn on the sign that reads at “Eat at Shrimp Joes.” Then you rig the pot shut and get your 300ish feet of line organized in a milk crate, load the boat and head out to deeper water to guess at a location to sink your pot and hope for the best. I am still learning how to spot a good shrimp location so more to come on that topic.

ANOTHER WILLARD CITING: Andrew and I were riding around in Melanie Cover (these little coves almost always have names) and there it was, another Willard boat! Now you might ask why that is so amazing. Well there weren’t very many Willards built so to find one sitting in the same anchorage for the night is quite an extraordinary coincidence. The boat is a 40’ Pilot house and her name is Poco Y Poco and is owned by Chris and Darlene. They live in New Zealand but the boat lives in Portland. Lovely couple that have spent many years traveling by boat to many countries. We spent about half an hour chatting with them and also got a great tour of the boat. The Pilot boat version does not have a fly bridge so it is not as tall as the Willard but then you don’t have an upper deck to be out in good weather and the drive the boat. We haven’t actually used the fly bridge yet but we will soon according to Andrew. These Willard’s are lovely, salty, seaworthy boats and the people that own them are all so interesting. It is very difficult to find a Willard and we have found that they are almost never for sale. After a nice visit and exchange of boat cards (business cards that you make up to hand out to other cruisers that you meet along the way so that you can email, read other boating blogs or catch up with at the next anchorage or port. We bid them farewell and safe travels and we headed to cocktail hour on Sam’s boat Safe Harbour.

Cocktail hour:

Cocktails at Sam’s boat and then off to bed because I have a shrimping date with Dan at 6:15 to pull my pots and see if the shrimp made their way into my diner. I have been reading about shrimp and it appears that they exhibit local behaviors. I think that means that in some areas you would need to soak a pot overnight and in other areas you only need a few hours. Perhaps I can talk my way onto a local shrimp boat at the next stop and play at deck hand for a day. I imagine that I would learn a great deal about the area and the local fish behaviors.

Crew aboard the Domino:

Domino is crewed by Andrew, Tammy and Patience (the little kitty) and so far we are all feeling happy about cruising and having a fabulous time. We have all settled into the boat and have learned how to get comfortable in the space and fill our time with activities that make us happy and busy. There are always projects on a boat whether at dock or underway. The little kitty’s only project appears to be find a location next to one of us and catch up on her sleep and wake up when she smells anything fishy for obvious reasons after all she is a cat! It is hard to believe that she 18 years old! She gets fresh fish and turkey every day and seems quite content and happy. Andrew says she must be thinking that we have finally come to our senses and made her the center of the universe as it should have always been! Captain Andrew is like a kid that just had the biggest Christmas ever! He jumps out of bed everyday so that he can tinker and play and learn!

Andrew, Patience and I are having an awesome, magnificent, extraordinary, incredible, educational, restful and incredibly spectacular time! We are learning something new every day. We look forward to every day and every new adventure. It doesn’t matter if we spend the day at the dock and work on the boat, (we have learned that you are always working on the boat) or underway and navigating to the next location. I am not sure that there will ever be enough time to everything that we want to see this summer but we are sure going to give it our best.

Domino…….Over and standing by on VHF channel 68. (Had my radio lesson today. Can you tell?)

Left Dock/Weighed anchor: 7:15 AM

Cruise Log: 52 Nautical Miles,

Weather Conditions: Early FogCalm Water, Clear Skies, Calm Wind. A boaters dream!

Navigational Obsticals: Skukenchuck Rapids and Sea Shell Rapids

Wildlife Sighting: Harbour Seals, Eagles, Heron

Arrived Dock/Dropped anchor: First Anchoring @ 1:13

Slip for the night $0.00 No charge in the wild!

Time today Helm for TEA: 2 hrs

Time today Helm for ACA: 4rs

Lessons learned: How to anchor.

Fun Meals while underway: Ginger Cilantro Chicken over Cilantro and Lime rice. Took 2o minutes. Will list recipe in the Gallery recipes soon.

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